Success really depends on each individual and what you are looking to get out of a situation. Just making it out onto the water can be considered a success to some while others are looking for something else. As a guide success is something that each client or friend that we take out determine for themselves. I have clients that have represented total opposites of the success spectrum. Some just wanted to catch a certain number of fish and to fall short of that would be failure while the client on the other side of the success spectrum was there for the experience and the fish were a bonus.
For me I am trying to find balance between what I consider success and failure. I always go out onto the water with the expectation of catching fish. I have had to temper that expectation so as not to drive myself crazy if I fail to achieve my goal. I have written many times about taking in everything around you and I have to constantly remind myself to stop and look around and observe. On a recent scouting trip Jeff and I observed hundreds of swallows swooping around the surface of a pond that we were fishing. We also observed a huge hatch of insects on the water that had brought those same swallows to feed on them. Periodically we noticed that the water was dimpled by smaller bait fish feeding on those insects. We then surmised with all of this activity there must be larger fish below the smaller fish. Well we did not connect when we fished our imitations through, but I would consider that a success even though we did not succeed in catching a fish. We had observed a unique occurrence in nature that you do not see everyday and we learned something new about what is going on in that specific pond.
Success from one year to the next is also something that is important to note. This spring has been like many of the past normal springs. Many of the lakes and ponds held onto their ice longer than last year and thus the water temperatures are not as high as they were at this same time last year. Many of the rivers and streams in the southern part of the state are high, while last year we did not see the high runoff like this year. To judge your fishing success on a date from one year to the next, especially during the early part of the year, would be allowing a greater chance of failure. Last year was an anomaly where fishing was amazing from the start of the season and it seemed like it just continued for me throughout the year. This spring is on par with many other springs in the past where the fishing is slow and picks up in the early part of May (fingers crossed). Keeping that thought in perspective is important when things are slow.
Another aspect of success for me personally is making time to spend with my wife. She has been my biggest supporter since we met and I try to make sure that I block off time to spend with her. I would have to say I am getting better at that so we will count that as a success. Around Easter weekend we decided to leave and spend a few days in New York City. Being in the city gives us a chance to experience things we do not normally experience and to explore together. I think one of my biggest successes during this trip was that we visited the Orvis store on 5th Avenue. Even in such a setting the familiar feeling of the outdoors was pervasive and made me feel at ease. As much fun as we had trips like that make me appreciate our state for what it has to offer. I also really appreciate the life that we have made and the opportunities that I have to do what I want. For that I would call that a success.